This review has a bit of back story. To get the most out of it, I suggest that you read the review of the Earth Runners Alpha X sandals that I posted a while back. (You don’t have to, course. I’m just sayin’.)
You’re looking at state-of-the-art Earth Runners Circadian Xs here. At time of writing, they’re not even on the Earth Runners website. That’s because mine are kitted out with fully conductive leather straps. If you take a look at the Earth Runners site (which I heartily recommend you do), you’ll see Circadian Xs with conductive nylon straps and Circadian Xs with non-conductive leather straps. Soon, you’ll see Circadian Xs with fully conductive leather straps as well.
What does that mean?
It means that Mike Dally, the founder of Earth Runners sandals and the guy who designs and builds them, has come up with the conductive straps, not just as an enhancement to an already-good existing product, but as part of a re-design of that product.
To go back a step or two, let’s compare my new Circadian Xs with my Alpha Xs. They’re similar – but different.
For one thing, the Circ Xs have a thinner footbed. They come in at 8mm, whereas the Alpha Xs have an 11mm sole.
Second, the Circ Xs sport a Vibram pebble-textured sole, rather than the Vibram “Woodstock” tread pattern on the Alpha Xs.
Those two differences suggest using the Circ Xs as a road or light trail sandal and the Alpha Xs as a sandal for more heavy-duty trails. That’s how I’ve used the latter (and how I’m currently testing the former). I’ve also found the Alpha Xs to be ideal as a general purpose, wear-all-over-the place sandal. And I’ve worn them with Injinji Trail 2.0 socks as pretty decent winter footgear, at temperatures down to -18C (28F).
The simplest way of putting it is that the Circadian Xs offer better ground feel and are closer to being barefoot, while the Alpha Xs offer more cushioning and more protection. How that plays out for you will depend on where you run, what kind of surfaces you run on, and, of course, personal preference.
Now, let’s look at the whole thing about conductive leather straps.
Currently, the Earth Runners Circadian X sandal can be ordered with either nylon or leather straps and copper plug inserts in the sole of the sandals to provide the benefits of earthing. In the very near future, it’ll be offered with a choice of nylon or leather straps, but without the inserts. As Mike Dally explains, “After testing the new conductive leather straps, conductive inserts have become obsolete. The conductive straps test slightly better than the inserts. Factoring in the manufacturing difficulty of the inserts and the unsustainable nature of this process, we have decided to slowly phase out this option.”
Mike also says that his tests show that inserts or conductive straps are about 97% as effective as going barefoot, in regards to earthing.
OK. That leads us to the question of earthing. Does it work? Yes, emphatically, it does. It may be a new concept to you, and may sound a little flaky at first, but it’s based on solid science and verifiable by experience.
The benefits of earthing yourself are basic, but impressive. Earthing appears to minimize or eliminate inflammation through the transfer of negatively-charged electrons from the surface of the Earth into the body (where the electrons neutralize positively-charged destructive free radicals involved in chronic inflammation). Naturally, this has a positive effect on your brain, heart, muscles, immune and nervous systems, and, in turn, the whole body and the aging process.
The most convincing argument for earthing I’ve is this short video of how earthing was used by the Discovery Team in the Tour de France:
I first learned about earthing soon after I got my (non-conductive) Alpha X sandals. That lead me to purchase an earthing mat and a set of earthing patches. Now I’m delighted to own a pair of conductive Circadian X sandals. And yesterday, I ordered a pair of conductive leather straps for my “old” Alpha X sandals. The conductive leather straps are currently available on the Earth Runners website for US$15 (plus shipping), with the regular, non-conductive leather laces still available for US$12. (My advice? Go for the conductive straps. They’re well worth the additional three bucks.)
One thin piece of rubber. One leather strap. One plastic buckle. And earthing. That’s all you really need!
Note: Product for this review was supplied by Earth Runners.